Social emotional learning is a term used to describe education centered around topics bigger than traditional textbooks touch on. These topics include self awareness, discipline, confidence and more. Over the last few years, the state of Texas has recognized the need for SEL curriculum to be implemented into the education system to set up students for success in their relationships, work, life and more. They’ve begun to understand that for many students, trouble inside and outside of the classroom isn’t a mere result of a kid not understanding math or science but that a number of other life skills are important for them to thrive.
23 year old speaker Kyle Dendy is one of the individuals who has been selected to help put this implementation into effect. His background is in speaking to students of all ages and helping them see and believe that more is inside of them through his books and talks. Across Texas, a number of school districts have brought Kyle Dendy in to speak about the teachers and students. SEL subjects can be taught by teachers, but the mission of this speaking tour is for students to see a successful individual not much older than them. The goal is not just to inspire the students but to really get them to believe that they can succeed in their life.
In one illustration, Dendy is seen holding up a clean sheet of paper and telling the students that this is them. As he describes the challenges of life that are sure to come, the words of others that cut them deep etc, he begins crumbling up the paper. After unraveling it, he explains that many students feel because of what’s happened in their life that the best they can ever be going forward is wrinkled like that sheet of paper. It’s easy to settle for wrinkled. Upon pulling out a fresh sheet of paper, he tells the students that it’s possible to start fresh.
“It’s really been an honor to be a part of this initiative,” said Dendy. “I love making inspirational videos online and reaching people through technology, but to be in the room with a student is completely different. I’m able to look these kids in the eyes, answer questions they have and hopefully make a lasting difference in their lives. I’ve talked to students that have told me some really saddening things about where they’re at and what they’re feeling. As hard as it is to hear, it makes me feel even more certain that I’m making a difference.”
Over the next few years, you can expect to hear more about social emotional learning as it is rolled out to more cities and states across the country. If you have an understanding of or passion for personal development, you likely got that from something you read, watched or some important person in your life who taught you those lessons. It’s incredible, then, to see that many of these same subjects are starting to be rolled into the school system.